Al Jefferson

Allan Houston (above), rumored to be heavily recruiting Lebron James (below), may be hosting the free agent prize at his Greenwich, Connecticut home this evening.

Could this be too good for Knicks’ fans to be true?  Several sources have reported, though unconfirmed, that former Pistons’ and Knicks’ great, and current Knick front office employee, Allan Houston, is entertaining Lebron James, who arrived in New York this evening, and that James may even be a guest at Houston’s sprawling Greenwich mansion this evening.

Should this be true, James to the Knicks is a slam dunk–another piece of speculation being rampantly reported by various internet sources this evening.

Jared just phoned into TMZ Live … and revealed that his top secret NBA sources have information directly from the Knicks … that LeBron has informed team officials that he will be joining the team.

Check out the audio and listen to the whole thing. LeBron is expected to make his “official” announcement tomorrow evening.

If Allan Houston has indeed been instrumental in bringing Lebron James to the Knicks, Houston, said to be the heir apparent to aging team president Donnie Walsh, deserves an immediate promotion.  Sources have said that Houston sold James on the Knicks as one of the classiest franchises in sport, despite recent woes.

It is believed that Houston discussed with James how supportive Knicks’ brass was with him when he suffered from debilitating knee and back injuries toward the end of his career, and how the Knicks allowed Houston to try out for the team after he had collected an enormous injury settlement at the time of his retirement–a very uncharacteristic move by an NBA ownership group.

Houston is said to be very close friends with Knicks primary owner Jim Dolan.  Should Houston really be instrumental in orchestrating James to New York–the coup of all coups–it would no doubt be an even bigger contribution the franchise than putting the Heat out of the playoffs with a last second shot in the 1999 playoffs, when the 8th seeded Knicks defeated the top seeded Heat, and made their last run to the NBA Finals.  Take a look at that shot at the video link below:

For more on this year’s banner NBA free agent class, and on the Knicks, check out the links below:

James will make his announcement Thursday at 9 PM EST, live on ESPN.

–Crack (

Since word was released earlier that Lebron James plans to make his free agent choice on ESPN live Thursday At 9 PM EST from a Boys and Girls Club facility in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is only minutes from the New York Knicks’ practice facility at SUNY Purchase in Rye, New York, speculation has been rampant that the prized free agent is set to join the New York Knicks.  The Knicks, who were the only team to receive a second audience with James of the 6 suitors, were said to have sought James’ blessing on the free agent acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire, which James granted.  Also, at that 2nd meeting, James’ agent is believed to have discussed with the Knicks in detail their plans to continue to improve the team, which included a conversation about the salary cap space that New York will have after the 2010-2011 season, and the Knicks’ ability to sign another max contract free agent, which they assured James’ representatives they would be able to do.

Other signs that seem to favor the Knicks today are a noticeable rise in the value of Madison Square Garden stock, and tweets by Stoudemire’s former Phoenix teammate and close friend, Jared Dudley, stating that James will announce tomorrow that he is signing with New York.

Aside from Greenwich being a short drive from the Knicks training facility in Greenburgh, NY, former Suns teammate of Amar’e Stoudemire, Jared Dudley, posted on his Twitter account earlier Monday, “Breaking News!!! My sources tell me LeBron will announce that he will be goin to the NY KNICKS tomorrow on ESPN.. This is serious.. WOW!!!!”

And if you’re trying to read the tea leaves, shares of Madison Square Garden Inc. (MSG) rose 6.4 percent today.

Though the article linked above was co-written by NY Daily News Knicks’ beat writer Frank Isola, Isola appeared via telephone with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on Mad Dog Radio on Sirius XM Satellite Radio in the past hour, and downplayed James to New York, while predicting that James will remain in Cleveland.  Frankly, and this comes from a devout Knick fan, Isola is a very poor Knicks’ reporter, who has only been updating his Knicksnation blog about once a day, despite myriad developments over the last week involving the Knicks.

Isola offered zero information in his 20 minute spot with Russo, downplayed Dudley’s twitter remarks, and surmised out loud that James is going to pick Cleveland from Connecticut as a means of creating a smoke screen, because James likes the drama and suspense he has created, and any announcement coming from Ohio would be read into that James will obviously return to Cleveland.  This situation is entirely unique in sport where a professional athlete calls his own press conference to announce a free agent destination, but when high school recruits do so, generally the school of choice does already know of the athlete’s decision.

Could Isola know more than he lets on and be sworn to secrecy, like everyone is at ESPN, where some surely must know what team James chose, but who will not say a thing and risk compromising their prime time ratings tomorrow night?  Isn’t the team James chooses going to be eager to in the very least put a uniform and hat on James and get some photos with their new or returning star?  The proximity of Greenwich to the Knicks’ training facility in Rye would allow the Knicks the easiest access to James in Connecticut, while offering Cleveland the worst access.  Greenwich is widely considered to be Knicks’ country.  James obviously has known what team he will choose for at least a day, since making the announcement that he will make the announcement live in the 9 to 10 PM slot Thursday evening on ESPN.  James probably made his decision as soon as he knew that Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade were signing with Miami.

Whereas many, including Isola, have suggested that James is “too good a guy” to go on national television and completely destroy a city, and that announcing he is leaving Cleveland in this manner would be akin to stabbing Cleveland in the back, others feel that James will make his announcement devoid of sentiment, and will choose based on what is best for his career going forward.  A major factor in that line of reasoning would have to be Chris Bosh’s rejection of a sign and trade to Cleveland yesterday, which would clearly delineate to deluded Clevelanders that real NBA stars not from Ohio do not want any part of living in Ohio, even if it meant a chance to play with James.  James one time good friend and teammate, Carlos Boozer, also jilted James once, leaving Cleveland as a free agent, though he pledged not to, to play for the Utah Jazz.  Boozer, another highly sought free agent this year, agreed to a 5 yr, $ 80 M deal with Chicago this afternoon.

James’ mother Gloria was said to have a sexual relationship with James’ Cleveland teammate Delonte West, who Cleveland is desperately trying to trade, probably in a last ditch effort to appease James any way they can.  West was rumored to be part of the Bosh proposed sign and trade, and was rumored this morning to be in separate deals, some alongside Jamario Moon, so that Cleveland could make additional cap space.

If James chooses the Knicks, I for one feel the Knicks owe a great debt to Bosh, whose decision to nix Cleveland yesterday was monumental.  If the Knicks lose out on the guy who has been the apple of their eye for years, they will probably try to improve their roster by exploring sign and trade options in which they dealt David Lee.

Though one prominent New York name in sports doesn’t think it will come to that.  Yankees GM Brian Cashman said this week he fully expects James to make the best decision for himself, and predicted the star would sign with the Knicks.


Crack (

This morning came word out of Toronto that the Raptors were willing to do a sign and trade with Cleveland that would send Chris Bosh (above) to Cleveland to play for new coach Byron Scott and perhaps along side Lebron James.  Toronto, who had balked at signing and trading Bosh to teams he appeared to be colluding with James and Wade about, must not view it as a bad thing to see the Cavs keep James.  Bosh would go to Cleveland in exchange for a package including Anderson Verajao, Anthony Parker, and Delonte West, rumored to have had a sexual relationships with the mother of Lebron James.

The Toronto Raptors have told the Cleveland Cavaliers they will do a sign-and-trade with them for Bosh, according to several league sources.

The exact details of the potential trade have not been solidified, but Toronto likely would get Anderson Varejao and/or J.J. Hickson, Delonte West and perhaps Anthony Parker. A draft pick could be involved as well.

The only problem is that Bosh has negged the deal, as people close to him have said that he wants no part in playing for or living in Cleveland.  This could illustrate two very important points about Bosh–that he isn’t married to a 6 yr deal, and that he has been telling the truth about his preference to play in a warm weather city.  Both factors could be looked at as positives for the Heat, who would love to snag Bosh, which would probably be the linchpin of their plan to keep Dwayne Wade, who is said to be seriously considering Chicago.

Since Amar’e Stoudemire agreed to a 5 yr, $ 99.7 M contract with the Knicks Monday, much has been made of the fact that the Knicks sought Lebron James’ blessing for such a move, giving rise to the scenario pitched in Sunday’s New York Post by Peter Vecsey, that James or Wade would rather play with Stoudemire in New York as opposed to Cleveland and Miami, respectively, with no other star to ride shotgun, an idea disgusted in the link directly above.

Despite the fact that the Bulls are blessed with the better roster, many have recently voiced their opinion that James would sign with the Knicks, inlcuding New York Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman, ESPN Radio’s Brandon Tierney, and’s Chris Sheridan.

The Knicks will wait on Lebron James’ decision before exploring sign and trade options for David Lee.  Both Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson have been mentioned as possibilities.  Also, the Knicks are said to be very interested in free agent point guard Raymond Felton.

Chris Bosh may be helping the Knicks enormously with his refusal, so far, to go to Cleveland.  Time will tell soon enough.

–Crack (

New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman told reporters today that he fully expects mega star prized free agent Lebron James to join the New York Knicks in the coming days.

The New York sports executive who has signed free agents to contracts totaling more than a billion dollars doesn’t believe the New York Knicks have any shot to land LeBron James.

Brian Cashman believes they have the only shot.

“LeBron James is going to be a Knick,” the New York Yankees‘ general manager said Monday after hearing the news that Amare Stoudemire had agreed in principle to play his home games at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m convinced of it. New York is the place that will allow LeBron to be the player and person he wants to be, and it’s all coming together. Just listen, LeBron James will be a Knick.”

Newest Knick Amar’e Stoudemire, whose 5 yr, $ 96 M contract was agreed to in principle today, attended the Yankees game on Sunday with Knicks’ owner Jim Dolan.

Let’s hope Cash is right.

–Crack (


Reportedly, Chris Bosh (above) and Dwayne Wade dined together the past 3 evenings in Chicago, and may have hatched a plan to join forces in Miami, though there is rampant speculation coming from all corners this afternoon, on many huge potential free agent moves in the NBA.  Chris Bosh, believed by most to be the free agent who covets most the astronomical 6th year for an additional $ 30 M, is said to be considering dropping that dream in favor of another one–teaming up with close friend Dwayne Wade in a warm city, which he is said to prefer. 

Brandon Tierney of ESPN Radio told ESPNEWS earlier that Bosh is likely to sign with Miami or Houston, who the Raptors would be willing to sign and trade Bosh to, because sending him to the Rockets would not be looked upon as the Raptors helping a player who is orchestrating his free agent destination in coordination with James and Wade, which many owners are not pleased about.  See Bossh’s career stats below:

Career   FG   3PT   FT   Rebounds   Misc
 Year Team G Min  M A Pct   M A Pct   M A Pct   Off Def Tot   Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG  
 2003-04 TOR 75 33:30  4.4 9.5 45.9   0.1 0.2 35.7   2.7 3.8 70.1   2.6 4.9 7.4   1.0 1.4 0.8 1.4 2.9 11.5  
 2004-05 TOR 81 37:12  5.8 12.4 47.1   0.0 0.1 30.0   5.1 6.7 76.0   2.4 6.5 8.9   1.9 2.3 0.9 1.4 2.8 16.8  
 2005-06 TOR 70 39:17  7.8 15.5 50.5   0.0 0.2 0.0   6.8 8.3 81.6   2.9 6.3 9.2   2.6 2.2 0.7 1.1 3.0 22.5  
 2006-07 TOR 69 38:30  7.9 15.9 49.6   0.2 0.5 34.3   6.7 8.6 78.5   2.7 8.0 10.7   2.5 2.6 0.6 1.3 2.4 22.6  
 2007-08 TOR 67 36:12  7.6 15.3 49.4   0.2 0.4 40.0   7.0 8.3 84.4   2.6 6.1 8.7   2.6 2.3 0.9 1.0 2.3 22.3  
 2008-09 TOR 77 38:00  8.0 16.4 48.7   0.2 0.6 24.5   6.6 8.0 81.7   2.8 7.2 10.0   2.5 2.3 0.9 1.0 2.5 22.7  
 2009-10 TOR 70 36:06  8.6 16.5 51.8   0.1 0.3 36.4   6.7 8.4 79.7   2.9 7.9 10.8   2.4 2.4 0.6 1.0 2.4 24.0  
 Career 509 37:00  7.1 14.4 49.2   0.1 0.3 29.8   5.9 7.4 79.6   2.7 6.7 9.4   2.2 2.2 0.8 1.2 2.6 20.2

If Bosh is dead set on that sixth year, then Houston is likely to land him, but if a 5 year max contract from Miami starting at $ 16.7 M, is sufficient for Bosh, then he will go to the Heat who will then retain Dwayne Wade, it is thought.  Since all of these free agent deals have player opt outs after year 3, Bosh could theoretically negotiate an even more substantial deal from the Heat at that time.  But if Bosh believes he might decline before his opt out, he may be more likely to suit up with Yao Ming in Houston on the 6 year, $ 126 M contract he would get in a sign and trade.

Bosh, at only 26, will probably still be a top player in 3 years, giving the Heat the edge.  Also, we have heard and read reports that Chicago has offered Dwayne Wade less than a max deal, and that they pressed him very hard for a commitment on Saturday, and were unable to sign him.  Wade, who has cited family reasons as his top determinant, would get 6 yrs at $ 126 M from the Heat, and that type up contract would no doubt help his family, while giving him an opportunity to continue his career in Miami and to team with close friend Bosh.

Tierney told ESPNEWS that if Bosh goes to Houston, the New York Knicks would be in play for both James and Wade, who would offer Dwayne Wade and Lebron James 5 year, $ 96 M contracts.  Tierney believes that Wade’s first preference is to team with Bosh, but that his next preference would be to team with James in New York.  Tierney also thought the Knicks’ flexibility with regard to next off season gives them a decided advantage with James, who could take the year to hand pick the impending free agent or a trade scenario that would net him the next guy he would most like to play with.  Carmelo Anthony and great James friend and super point guard Chris Paul, among the names he mentioned.

Anthony will be a free agent but Paul would need to be acquired in a trade.  Other notable free agents next year will be Nene, Tony Parker, Tayshaun Prince, and David West, among others.  In order for the Knicks to sign a free agent to a max contract next off season and to have enough room to sign a first round pick, they would need to shed approximately an additional $ 7 M from their payroll.  They will also have the option to use a mid level exception next year.

Though Tierney was very positive about the possibility of Lebron to New York, many media reports have James choosing the Chicago Bulls, who have a much stronger roster than the Knicks and a much better chance to win big sooner.  I tend to agree with those reports, and to disagree that Wade and James to New York could be some type of package deal, because the Knicks signing of Amar’e Stoudemire, which looks to be imminent, would limit the Knicks to only one more max contract free agent addition.

More likely, the Knicks will see James go elsewhere, and settle on a sign and trade for David Lee and some second tier free agent acquisitions.

–Crack (

Al Jefferson (above).  Monta Ellis (below).

Though the Knicks were granted a clandestine second meeting with Lebron James on Saturday, media reports this morning state that James will choose between the Bulls, Cavs, and Nets, and that an announcement will come after Lebron completes a 3 day basketball camp for youths in Akron, Ohio–a sign that he might be planning to choose a new home.  James had said last week that he’d like to make a decision by today, but then recanted over the weekend, which could be an indication that he will not choose Cleveland.  If he were to choose Cleveland, he shouldn’t have any problem announcing the decision early with his basketball camp expected to be swarmed by media.

If James was not to choose Cleveland, it would make sense if he waited until later in the week to decide, after his camp wraps up.  It seems as though Dwayne Wade may be close to choosing Chicago.  ESPN reported yesterday that Wade made a statement to the affect that his decision will come down to what is best for his family.  Wade is involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife, who also lives in Chicago, which is his hometown.

The Heat are expected to make a hard charging final push at Wade this week, and are pulling out all the stops in a frenzied effort to retain their championship calibre franchise player, whom they never expected to lose to free agency.,0,7054933.story

The New York Post has reported today that Golden State has contacted the Knicks about a sign and trade involving David Lee for guard Monta Ellis, and that Minnesota has contacted the Knicks about a sign and trade involving David Lee and big man Al Jefferson, who has been a rebounding machine for the woeful T-Wolves since being traded for Kevin Garnett 3 years ago.

A league source said the Knicks have been offered Golden State’s point guard Monta Ellis and Minnesota’s Al Jefferson for Lee in separate sign-and-trade scenarios. But the Knicks are handcuffed on all moves until they find out what LeBron James and Dwyane Wade do.

Lee, who made the All-Star Team for the first time, is almost guaranteed not to be a Knick next season. But he is amenable to pulling off a sign-and-trade instead of an outright signing because he would get the extra sixth year — at least $11 million.

It would be wise for Lee, who has scheduled visits to Northern California and Minnesota, to accept a sign and trade, as the 6th year that the Knicks only can offer amounts to a significant difference from the 5 year contracts that other teams can offer.

The Post also reports that the Nets, long believed to be interested in Lee, will meet with him soon.  Like the Knicks, the Nets are waiting for Lebron James to make a decision before proceeding with other players.

Al Jefferson’s career stats:

Career Averages

 Career   FG   3PT   FT   Rebounds   Misc
 Year Team G Min  M A Pct   M A Pct   M A Pct   Off Def Tot   Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG  
 2004-05 BOS 71 14:48  2.8 5.2 52.9   0.0 0.0 0.0   1.2 1.9 63.0   1.7 2.7 4.4   0.3 0.9 0.3 0.8 2.8 6.7  
 2005-06 BOS 59 18:00  3.2 6.4 49.9   0.0 0.1 0.0   1.5 2.3 64.2   1.6 3.4 5.1   0.5 1.1 0.5 0.8 2.8 7.9  
 2006-07 BOS 69 33:36  6.6 12.8 51.4   0.0 0.0 0.0   2.9 4.3 68.1   3.4 7.5 11.0   1.3 2.0 0.7 1.5 3.4 16.0  
 2007-08 MIN 82 35:36  8.8 17.6 50.0   0.0 0.1 0.0   3.5 4.8 72.1   3.8 7.4 11.1   1.4 2.0 0.9 1.5 2.7 21.1  
 2008-09 MIN 50 36:42  9.7 19.5 49.7   0.0 0.1 0.0   3.7 5.0 73.8   3.4 7.5 11.0   1.6 1.8 0.8 1.7 2.8 23.1  
 2009-10 MIN 76 32:23  7.4 14.8 49.8   0.0 0.1 0.0   2.4 3.5 68.1   2.4 6.9 9.3   1.8 1.8 0.8 1.3 2.7 17.1  
 Career 407 28:36  6.4 12.7 50.3   0.0 0.1 0.0   2.5 3.6 69.3   2.7 5.9 8.7   1.2 1.6 0.7 1.3 2.9 15.3

The woefully thin Knicks should covet both Jefferson and Ellis, who are both only 25 years old.  Jefferson had a down year last year, and missed 32 games in 08-09, but overall has been a force in the low post for the lowly Timberwolves, who must view Lee as an upgrade over Jefferson, if they are willing to commit 6 years and close to $ 80 M on the Knick free agent.

For that reason, the probable addition of Stoudemire, the presence of Eddy Curry in a walk year, and the long standing absence of a viable point guard, it is still our preference that the Knicks pursue quick as lightning scoring machine Monta Ellis, who has stated a preference to wear the blue and orange.

Media reports that the Knicks still are pursuing G Mike Miller, but we have read that the Clippers and Cavaliers, in addition to the Lakers, are still in the mix for Miller, who is close friends with Lebron James.  Miller’s agent, Arn Tellem is good friends with Knicks’ President Donnie Walsh, and Miller was said to have hit it off with coach Mike D’antoni in face to face meetings in California at the opening of free agency.

Frankly, we could see another team being desperate enough to give Miller slightly more than the mid level exception, because their seems to be a storng market for his services around the league.  We could also see Miller making a better choice than the Knicks, that being the Lakers, which would be a dream scenario for the lights out perimeter shooter.

The Knicks are also said to be interested in point guard Carlos Rodriguez, and we hope, NYC product Rafer Alston, who has expressed an interest in joining the Knicks.  The Knicks pursuit of a point guard not named Monta Ellis was probably clouded by the $ 16 M/4 yr contract the Lakers lavished on Steve Blake in recent days.

The Knicks have made a slightly better showing out of the opening of free agency than expected, considering their woeful roster, owner, and head coach, and can actually greatly improve the team with the additions of Stoudemire and Ellis/Jefferson, and lesser signings, despite losing out on the marquis free agents that they have had their hearts set on since bringing Walsh to to town to run the team.

–Crack (